In his Reith lectures Grayson Perry called artists “Pilgrims on the Road to Meaning”. At New Blood Art we wanted to gain insight into our artists personal roads to meaning so we asked them 3 questions.
The moment when you are at a party (for example) and someone asks: ‘What do you do?’ You say, ‘I’m an artist.’ Can you remember when that moment first happened for you and tell us about it?
I have always taken my painting and drawing seriously, but yes, there was moment, a moment when I knew I had to be able to call myself an artist. I had been working as a Mental Health Social Worker for 10 years, something that gave me the privilege of seeing deeply into other peoples lives, but I suddenly realised I had to be able to answer the simple question about myself …. “At life’s end, looking back over my life, what would I not want to regret and think ‘if only….’?”. I realised it was about being an artist. I had to do something and applied to do a fine art degree and the rest is now history.
Do you have any rituals or routines to help the creative process?
Over the years I have realised that the creative process for me is directed by a strange mixture of thinking deeply about things and not thinking about anything! The thinking is through reading, walking about, looking and sketching, but then when it comes to making a piece of work it is about trying to keep your mind as empty as possible, to be as instinctive as possible. Ideas then seem to intrude!”
What was the best piece of advice you were given?
“Don’t be afraid of destroying something in an painting or drawing”
This was something told me by the late John Epstein who inspired me into charcoal life drawing. It was a lesson in mark making, about not being afraid to move a drawing or painting on, to go to places you don’t know.